Connected biking for new ideas
The project name – Magnetorheological Suspension Control System – also known as MRSC Connected – stands for a bicycle with a complete suspension and electronics in the frame that enable it to cope with any challenge at all. Electronics that are becoming standard features in automobiles are also being installed on racing bikes.
If you think about a bicycle, you normally don’t associate it with IT, the cloud or big data. But since August things have changed. At Eurobike, the world’s largest trade fair for bicycles, T-Systems and bike manufacturer Canyon of Koblenz, Germany, introduced their joint development known as the Connected Bike. When equipped with specially developed communications installed in the frame, along with an app and back-end software, the bike is ready for any situation or emergency. If the bike is involved in an accident, the software sends out an emergency call (e-call) that also pinpoints the location of the bike – that feature is helpful in cases of theft as well. Online monitoring of parts wear – called Predictive Maintenance – tells the owner well in advance when key components such as the brakes, chain or frame are wearing out.
The Internet of Things: now in the bicycle frame
This cross-functional collaboration between T-Systems and Canyon reflects the current trend toward the Internet of Things (IoT) and how the M2M unit is responding to it with a wide range of innovative solutions. It also demonstrates how the right ideas can be applied to a previously “unconnected thing” using an integrated M2M solution to create value added for customers and the Group.
Big data couriers
Such solutions not only make biking safer and easier for the average private bike owner, they serve as the basis for entirely new business models. In just a few years, booking the services of a bicycle courier could be much different than it is today. A connected bike and a big data solution from the cloud could be used to legally set up a network of private owners if their bikes were equipped with the right M2M technology. Customers would simply request the service, and the person who happens to be in the vicinity anyway could pick up the package for delivery along the way. That would make every bicyclist a potential courier.
Soon it will also be possible to retrofit any bicycle with these kinds of IT modules. An app specially developed for the customer ensures connectivity between his smartphone and the Telekom Cloud to enable access to data which is sent from the unit to the back end via the mobile communications network. The cyclist gets an overview of his current position, in addition to information about the wear and condition of bike parts. The app tells the cyclist when maintenance and parts replacement are due, and guides the customer directly to the Canyon Internet Shop and, if necessary, to a do-it-yourself repair video on YouTube.
I’m sure that the Connected Bike will have a bright future among those bicyclists who are fascinated by technology.
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